In 2018, the Grace Community family took a leap of faith. We launched into a two-year generosity initiative, with our gaze set on the cities and towns beyond us. The questions we sought to answer: How can we go deeper with our people at our Orange County campuses? How can we go wider to reach those who don’t know Christ? How can we go wider to impact the vulnerable in our communities?
Let’s take a look back at what God has done in these two years of “LET’S GO”!
Goal Updates*Giving numbers were impacted by COVID and physical locations being closed.
Goal 1: 100% Participation
Goal 2: $20 Million in Giving
Our desire is that at Grace, everyone knows what their next step is for Discipleship. That can be basic courses such as Gospel Groundwork, or more advanced training such as Leadership Pathway. After someone first trusts Jesus as their savior, we want to get them off and running.
We created the Gospel Groundwork course for this purpose. It runs five weeks and combines interactive learning with personal mentoring from a trained “coach,” who knows the course and has more experience in their relationship with Christ. The lessons walk through foundational truths of what it means to be a follower of Jesus. Each week, people are invited to reflect on their lives and take steps to draw closer to Jesus in practical and powerful ways.
For those further along in their walk with Jesus, our Leadership Pathway course creates an environment where potential leaders gather for relationship-building and equipping to prepare them for ministry leadership. With training on everything from spiritual leadership to practical guidance on casting vision and handling challenges and setbacks, these leaders go on to lead ministries at Grace.
As people progress and go more in-depth with Christ, there are often more profound challenges revealed; the only way forward is thorough, careful, intentional guidance and healing. Whether it be a spiritual, relational, or financial challenge, or grief and loss struggle, our Spiritual Care ministry walks with and cares for individuals as they navigate these difficulties.
By the Numbers:
What was it like being a coach for Gospel Groundwork?
What are some of the key things you’ve learned during this process?
In an overly complicated world full of religion, rules, and misconceptions of what it means to be a Christian our faith is beautifully simple. Gospel Groundwork explains our faith in such a way that the new believer can grasp the fundamentals and basic disciplines, while the seasoned believer is reminded how important it is to return to those same fundamentals.
"In an overly complicated world full of religion, rules, and misconceptions of what it means to be a Christian, our faith is beautifully simple."
How have you seen lives changed during your time as a coach?
I have seen individuals who begin the course who are downcast, heavy, unsure of themselves with misconceptions about their faith. By lesson five, they would walk into the group smiling, almost glowing; finally feeling their identity, purpose, and direction. Very new believers look and feel truly born again. Seasoned believers look like a weight has been lifted. Many of them find a deeper love for Jesus. One woman said I helped her get her Father back and become closer to Him. That wasn’t my doing, but now she feels reunited with the Father!
Church Online Numbers:
Pastor Scott Cheney
We took some time to sit down with Pastor Scott from the
Fishkill campus to hear how things are going there as a
new campus launched in 2019.
How have you seen the people at Fishkill grow and change throughout the year?
Recently you were forced to move because of the closing of the Ramada Inn. Can you talk about how God has worked through your campus having to move so suddenly?
All of this was very hard on the team. Yet, they have persevered. There is an overwhelming, yet unspoken trust in God that a permanent home is somewhere in the future. The volunteer base in place now will continue to grow in strength.
"There is an overwhelming, yet unspoken trust in God that a permanent home is somewhere in the future."
Can you share any special stories from the Fishkill campus that God has used to encourage you?
Members of Team Fishkill procured a shopping list, went to Shoprite, and delivered groceries to the woman in Cold Spring. People continued to reach out, to pray, and be a light to this woman. One week ago, she walked through the doors of our new location looking healthier than I have seen in years. She asked who needed help now and that she was ready. I wanted to cry. She is a life transformed by the Gospel in action.
Pastor korey deck
What was it like having to launch Church Online in such a short time period because of the pandemic?
So in 24 hours we planned, filmed, and produced an entire service, which is relatively unheard of for a church production staff. Fortunately for us, at the beginning of the LET’S GO initiative, we had done all of the initial work on building out a platform. If Covid had not hit, we had been planning towards launching for the summer of 2020. So with an immense amount of hard work from our small team, combined with the groundwork that had been laid because of the vision of LET’S GO, we were able to have church altogether that weekend!
"So in 24 hours we planned, filmed, and produced an entire service, which is relatively unheard of for a church production staff."
What did it take to get Church Online off the ground that first weekend? Were you worried it wouldn’t happen?
What makes church online its own special ministry? Maybe even in ways that are different from the other physical locations?
Over these past two years, Grace has intensified our special needs ministry, continuing the vision flowing from milestones such as “Night to Shine,” all the way to adding Grace Buddies, a staff dedicated to serving families with special needs. Our ministry to the migrant community has expanded, touching lives with necessary food and outreach, sharing the Gospel, and the love of Jesus. During “LET’S GO,” we have also seen growing transparency and focused ministry to love people suffering from mental illness and addiction.
by the Numbers:
Night to Shine
Before COVID How did you get involved with volunteer leadership at Grace?
How did you get involved with helping the county with food distribution during the covid pandemic?
I told her I had some experience working with volunteers. I offered to help with the volunteers and she was more than happy to have me take the lead. I’m sure she didn’t really know me, but for some reason, she trusted that I could help. As she saw that I could handle the volunteers she then handed off the daily meal lists to me to update and send out each day. With the help of others from Grace, we were able to get others to sign up and volunteer. Once volunteers were in place we created a weekly schedule to 18 different cities around Orange County. We began with 42 hot meal deliveries a day. By the time we were done in June, we were delivering upwards of 190 hot meals a day. That doesn’t include the over 500 food boxes we regularly helped sort, pack, and deliver around the Newburgh area.
"Working with this community program broadened my desire to reach more and more people with the love of Jesus."
Can you share some special stories that came out of your time leading volunteers?
One volunteer named Melissa Wood had moved out of state. But after losing her job during COVID she came back to New York. She emailed me one night:
Thank you Becky for allowing me to be a part of this. After losing my job (helping people) and coming back here unexpectedly, I was really feeling down. This outreach is giving me more than something to occupy my time. It’s giving me purpose during a time where people are in need. So thank you. I really do appreciate it. Thanking God for your heart of service.
What specific highlights can you share from the collaborative efforts of Grace and the Office for the Aging?
What impact did this ministry have on your own spiritual life?
Grace’s main website is our “front door” and each year more and more people are checking us out online. Others are listening to and watching digital teaching growing our weekly impact through content and digital outreach.
Even with limited participation and with the massive disruption of the global economy in 2020, God has enabled Grace to propel forward many elements of the “LET’S GO” vision. In 2018, we had an established ministry presence in five locations; today we are on the cusp of worshiping across 10 locations! In 2019, our staff and leadership were arranged to support ministry across Orange County communities only; today we are aligned to impact people in locations “beyond”—through family ministry, transformational adult discipleship, and powerful weekend Gospel encounters.
"God has commissioned us to reach Orange County and beyond. God has called us to kick the darkness in the Northeast."
"We are part of a revival movement."